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HRM Roundtable Results in Formation of Energy-Environment Steering Committee

(Monday, July 19/04)-- Major players in the local energy field accepted an invitation today from Halifax Regional Municipality to form a local working group and bring forward recommendations on how HRM can best develop and move ahead with a future energy and environmental strategy.

In addition, Nova Scotia Power committed to participate and cooperate in the process to explore a District Energy concept for peninsular Halifax. Participation by NSP is key to HRM exploring a District Energy project and co-generation opportunities because of its technical expertise and knowledge of local market capacities and energy needs.

Those were the major outcomes of the first-ever HRM Energy and Environmental Roundtable held this morning at Halifax City Hall. It included representatives from the three levels of government, energy suppliers, major institutional users, technical and regulatory experts and funding departments or agencies.

A staff report regarding today's presentations and discussions will be going forward to Halifax Regional Council this fall.

Mayor Peter Kelly, who officially opened the roundtable, told participants today that HRM welcomes any advice, suggestions or assistance from the various energy and environmental stakeholders, as HRM prepares to move ahead with a future strategy to maximize energy efficiency and minimize any negative effects on the environment.

Councillor Stephen Adams, Chair of HRM's Energy and Underground Services Subcommittee of Regional Council, told delegates that HRM and energy/environmental stakeholders in the community "can either be part of the steam roller, or part of the pavement. The choice is pretty simple."

Councillor Sue Uteck, who moderated the question and answer periods at the roundtable, said Regional Council would prefer to have stakeholders part of the solution in helping it to formulate a future strategy, rather than being forced to chart the course in isolation because of a lack of participation.

Among the groups making presentations this morning were Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Nova Scotia Power, and Heritage Gas.

Some of the common themes or messages raised in presentations or subsequent discussions at the roundtable included:

  • Regulatory change is inevitable-- threat or opportunity?
  • Movement towards clean, alternative energy sources creates new job opportunities and can lead to economic development opportunities
  • There is a wide variety of federal funding programs available for new energy and environmental projects- a lot of the $$millions are untapped.
  • Many municipalities across Canada are establishing their own District Energy Systems, which produce electricity for sale to utilities and the generation by-product (steam or hot water) is being used to heat municipal and privately-owned buildings.
  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Municipal Green Fund has financially participated in several District Energy Projects in cities across Canada during the past year.
  • Nova Scotia Power is undertaking a number of initiatives to meet provincial emission standards.
  • There is a higher-than-average use of high sulphur, Bunker C oil as an energy source in HRM, which cause huge gas emissions.
  • The price of Bunker C oil remains relative low, compared to other sources of energy, such as natural gas, so many users are reluctant to change.
  • Many institutions and business are considering the "duel-fuel" concept as a heat source.
  • It takes more than just political will to bring about change..there must be cooperation among all of the stakeholders.

Participants in today's HRM Energy and Environmental Roundtable:

Regional Council
Nova Scotia Power
Dalhousie University
NS Dept. of Energy
Heritage Gas
N.S. Dept. of Environment & Labour
Neill & Gunter
Environment Canada
Business District Commission
Natural Resources Canada
Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Oil & Heat Assoc.
Greater Halifax Partnership
Saint Mary's University
QEII Health Sciences Centre
IWK Grace
Clime- Adapt
Dept. of National Defence
Fed. of Cndn. Municipalities
Transport Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Offshore Petroleum Group)


Mayor Peter Kelly
(902) 490-4010

Councillor Stephen Adams
Chair, HRM Energy and Underground Services Subcommittee
(902) 497-8818

Councillor Sue Uteck
Moderator, Energy and Environmental Roundtable
(902) 221-7651

Above content last modified Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 4:36pm.